Recently, I swapped out the buttons on a new coat that I love (the coat is already Beatrix Potter-ish and needed some less dowdy buttons).and I realized that this small act had an unforeseen effect. The same effect, or rather, compulsion I get from dying a garment. The one that causes me to calmly dye that one item and then look madly around with a rabid gleam in my eye, searching for anything else I can throw in the dye-bath. Or, in this case, on the swap-the-buttons pile!
Yes, it turned out to be unforeseebly and surprisingly addictive, especially at this time of year when one wants to be under a quilt and on a couch doing something possibly useful but definitely cozy. And swapping the buttons out on something certainly is a good couch activity.
The items above all began life with very humdrum, run-of-the-mill buttons. Except the corduroy skirt, which is new (from Anthro) and came with pewter buttons that I wasn't crazy about.
I'm happy with all of the swaps, but the apricot glass orbs on the cream cardigan just thrill me.
It does seem to take rather longer than you would think, for such a minor project (the three sweaters took me the entirety of Rachel Getting Married, but maybe I'm doing something wrong). But it so thoroughly changes the look of a sweater or coat, and (like
dyeing) makes such a difference in how a piece of clothing feels. At
the risk of sounding cheesy, it makes it seem like a new
sweater/dress/skirt. Or maybe like a vintage treasure with unexpected
buttons. I, personally, think the best button matches are either ones
that seem irrefutably meant for the garment, or mindfully not meant for it. Like bottle-green buttons on a grey dress.
That sort of thing.
I also think that a thrifted wool or cashmere cardigan with a fresh set of pretty or unusual buttons (or the addition of a vintage collar) might make a nice little present. Just a little thought...it is, after all, that time of year!